I wish I could take it all back. I honestly do. I honestly do wish I could take it all back. And not just cause I'm stranded in space. (I'm in space.) I know you are, mate! Yep. We're both in space. (SPAAAAAAAAACE!!!!!) Anyway, if I was ever to see her again, you know what I'd say? I'd say... I'm sorry! Sincerely. I am sorry that I was bossy... and monstrous... and... I am genuinely sorry. The end.
~ Wheatley with the Space Core.
No! Harm's heart is pure! Harm's not sorry! I'M NOT!
~ Harm trying to deny his guilt.
Can you hear me? I don't know if you can hear me... I'm sorry.
~ The Big Brother to his younger brother when the latter is dying.

Remorseful villains are characters who feel sorry for their past actions, but not have necessarily "turned good".

With almost every of these characters, their remorse can eventually lead to their redemption, but this is not always the case, as seen with Patrick McReary. However, redeemed villains can no longer fall under this category; some of these villains may also move to another evil plan, usually a less evil one than their previous plan.

There are several reasons a villain can feel remorse:

  • Feeling terrible for exceeding in their misdeeds, they may not truly redeem themselves in some cases but still they show real concern about their actions and the consequences that affect others and the villain(s) themselves. For example, Dozle Zabi in Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin felt guilt for ordering the genocide of the Side 2 colony and its subsequent dropping onto Earth, but continued to serve Zeon anyway. Similarly, Mashymre Cello in Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ felt tremendous regret for his role in the Dublin Colony Drop, but continued to fight for Neo Zeon. Another example is the Big Brother in Five Nights at Freddy's 4, who showed remorse and fear after accidentally killing his younger brother by putting him into the jaws of Fredbear.
  • Helping another villain far more evil than them, not being aware that they were tricked and then get eventually betrayed once they are not of their use. "Crime Wave" Clyde from The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 DIC cartoons is an example.
  • Having committed atrocities in the past and now showing concern in the present on how to fix everything they've done. Benny from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream is an example.
  • Realizing their schemes didn't go as they wanted and now want to either solve it with help of the heroes or do it themselves. Shou Tucker in the 2003 anime series of Fullmetal Alchemist is an example.
  • Admitting that they were wrong all along about what they thought and believed.

Important Notes

  • This category is solely intended for villains who regret their past actions and feel bad for what they have done, but don't actually redeem themselves anyway.
  • Psychopaths/sociopaths usually do not show remorse for their actions because they tend to lack empathy, guilt and/or emotional connections and act violent and twisted. However, exceptions can exist if they at least show some remorse for their actions in any way possible (e.g. Charlie Walker).
  • Pure Evil villains can NEVER be in this category as they completely lack empathy, never feel bad about their wrongdoings and as a result are utterly remorseless, whereas remorseful villains are in positive ways regardless of how terrible their acts they feel sorry for are. Therefore, if villains feel ANY remorse at all, then they are never Pure Evil, despite the fact that they may never completely redeem themselves due to their acts.
  • Also, the following villains should not be added to this category, even if they are not Pure Evil:
    • Those who pretend to show remorse for their actions in an attempt to let the hero's guard down and kill them - these should go under Cowards instead. (e.g. Dr. Eggman pretends to apologize to Sonic in Sonic Unleashed, but then Sonic realizes it's a trap, and then gets turned into a werehog.)
    • Those who give a sarcastic apology to their foes, they should go under Faux Affably Evil instead. (e.g. Ernesto de la Cruz "apologizes" for seemingly killing Miguel and allowing Hector to fade away.)
    • Those who merely regret for not being able to commit the crimes, or merely the failure of their crimes, instead of regretting over their evil actions. (e.g. Henry Bowers from the 2017 film adaptation of IT said to Mike Hanlon that he was sad over not being the one who killed Mike's parents.)
    • Those who look like they are feeling bad for their actions, but then proceed to attempt to attack/kill the hero(es) anyway. (e.g. the Lemons from Cars 2. Mater tries to talk some sense into the Gremlins, Pacers, Trunkovs and Hugos that "becoming rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams ain't gonna make them feel better." While it does look like they are realizing they were wrong, J. Curby Gremlin raises a machine gun and tries to kill the heroes anyway because it's "worth a shot!".)
    • Villains who only feel regret for one specific crime but feel no remorse for anything else they did as the category is meant for villain who feel remorse for their crimes in general (e.g. Montgomery de la Cruz and Alexander Pierce.)

See also

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